Historical information

This is the original manuscript for the song ‘Back to Warrnambool’, composed for the ‘Back To’ celebrations in Warrnambool in 1930 and reprinted for the ‘Back To’ celebrations in 1934. The song, described as a ‘souvenir foxtrot’ was written by Reginald Stoneham, a professional musician who was engaged to write the song. Reginald Stoneham (1879-1942) was a composer who was Australia’s leading exponent of jazz and ragtime piano styles in the first decades of the 20th century. He composed many tunes for anniversaries and celebrations in country towns and cities in Victoria. The original ‘Back to Warrnambool’ music was given to Henri Worland, the Town Clerk of Warrnambool in 1930 and handed over to the Warrnambool and District Historical Society by Keith Arnel, the Town Clerk in 1973. Note that the original song was ‘Respectfully dedicated to the Pioneers of Warrnambool’. This dedication, for some reason, was not printed on the music issued in the ‘Back To’ programs of either 1930 or 1934.


This is a significant item as the song ‘Back to Warrnambool’ has great historical significance as it was popular in Warrnambool in the 1930s and 40s and is still played and sung occasionally today. It is one of the two local songs about Warrnambool composed by Reginald Stoneham. The other is the Warrnambool Waltz Song. It is of interest to historians and researchers to have the original music.

Physical description

This is the original handwritten manuscript of the song, ‘Back to Warrnambool’. There are two pages of pre-ruled music score papers, filled in on both sides of the paper. The paper is marked ‘Boomerang Brand No2’. The musical notes and the words of the song are in black ink. The name of the song is outlined in red ink.

Inscriptions & markings

The first page has the heading ‘Souvenir Foxtrot Song, Back to Warrnambool, Words and Music composed by Reginald Stoneham, 1930, Respectfully dedicated to the Pioneers of Warrnambool’. The last page has the signature of Reginald Stoneham.
The first page has the signature of Henri Worland.